State wants control of key Telecom Italia assets - Mobile World Live

State wants control of key Telecom Italia assets

12 JAN 2022

Italy’s government reportedly insisted it must retain control of Telecom Italia’s strategic assets should any potential takeover progress, as the operator’s board continues to assess a bid by investment company KKR to take it private.

Reuters reported the country’s industry minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said the state wanted to keep control of key infrastructure, deemed to be of national interest.

The government has the power block any deal involving such assets, as Telecom Italia owns the majority of the country’s telecoms infrastructure.

Giorgetti further suggested the government would block KKR’s €10.7 billion bid if it jeopardises a wider government goal to combine Telecom Italia’s infrastructure assets with state-backed company Open Fiber.

“The government respects the market but any takeover bid must take into account a framework within which the state cannot relinquish control,” Giorgetti told Reuters.

As well as the operator’s board, KKR needs government support to push through the deal. Telecom Italia’s largest shareholder Vivendi does not back the takeover, but KKR does not necessarily need its support.

Vivendi previously stated it was open to handing control of Telecom Italia’s fixed network to the government, helping with the state’s goal to ramp broadband rollout across the country.

In other developments, Bloomberg reported this week KKR had approached Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund to help fund the proposed acquisition, in addition to other funds and infrastructure investors.

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Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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